When we think back on the summer of 2015 in Kansas City, we might call this the “Summer of the Kickstarter Campaign."
Folks with food and beverage aspirations, stepped up this summer to ask for financial help from their family and friends to fund new artisan food products, food trucks, restaurants and bars. They spent their spring taping intro videos and planning gift levels to launch month-long Kickstarter campaigns, hoping to fund their dream and add something unique to the food and drink scene in Kansas City.
Many of us heard their call, and dug deep into our pockets and gave to those places we felt were really needed in Kansas City. Now, just like us, those people who funded and received their Kickstarter contributions can’t wait until the construction is complete so they can start to give back to those who gave so generously to their campaigns.
With summer in our rear view mirror, it is time to check in with those Kickstarters on the frontline of funded food to get an update on when we can look forward to seeing their faces in these new spaces.
Owners: Chef Shanita McAfee Bryant
Raised on Kickstarter: $15,145
Number of Backers: 142
Funded on: July 30th, 2015
Estimated opening date: Middle of September 2015
Chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant decided to move her existing restaurant, Magnolia’s to a new neighborhood earlier this year. After finding just the right location, she started to remodel the space, sinking much of her savings into the work. That’s when she realize that her new space was going to need more work, than she had capital, and she needed a bit of help to get the place finished.
She launched her Kickstarter campaign in July and by the end of the month had raised the $15,000 needed to finish the remodel of her new location offering enticing gifts for those that donated like “gumbo for life.”
The young chef flew onto the national radar when she won an episode of Food Network’s, television show, Cutthroat Kitchen, beating out her challengers in a competitive cooking environment and winning almost $15,000 in the process, which she had sunk into her new restaurant remodel.
She is honest about the amount of work that it takes mentally to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
“The Kickstarter campaign was exhausting, and I had to take a slight mental break after it was over to regroup,” Bryant says.
You can expect to taste Magnolia’s red velvet waffles once again by mid-September 2015.
Magnolia’s, 9916 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO 64131, www.magnoliaskc.com
Owners: Chefs Josh and Abbey-Jo Eans
Raised on Kickstarter: $41,100
Number of Backers: 349
Funded on: April 19th, 2015
Estimated opening date: End of September 2015
“Breakfast by day and ramen by night” was the rallying cry for married couple chefs Josh and Abbey-Jo Eans, who launched their Kickstarter campaign in late March as they announced plans to open Columbus Park Ramen Shop in the 450-square foot garage space behind their current breakfast and lunch restaurant, Happy Gillis.
Kansas City has been observing the exciting progress on their new space all summer, and the couple has kept us up-to-date by posting updates and photos of each step as they completed it, just as they promised they would do as part of their Kickstarter campaign. On social media, they even asked people what they thought of the paint colors, patio and overall feel of their new space as it was all coming together with help from the folks at Utilitarian Workshop.
Their Kickstarter campaign for Columbus Park Ramen Shop raised $41,000 which went to renovate their space, including upgrades to electrical and plumbing, a new bathroom, a new outdoor patio, restoration of an old walk-in that was being used for dry storage, and beautiful hand-made ramen bowls made Columbus Park potter, Paul Mallory, who made all of the Happy Gillis coffee mugs.
Columbus Park Ramen Shop is currently hiring with hours available Thursday through Sunday, dinner only, 5:30 pm – 10:30 pm. The long-awaited menu will serve four to five kinds of ramen including tonkotsu, chicken, dashi and vegetarian. Canned craft beer and unique Japanese sodas are the planned drink offerings.
“The space looks great, and we couldn't be happier with it,” Eans says.
Be looking for Columbus Park Ramen Shop to open their doors in late September 2015.
Columbus Park Ramen Shop, 549 Gillis Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64106, Phone: (816) 471-3663, www.columbusparkramenshop.com
Owners: Christopher Ciesiel and Cristin Llewellyn
Raised on Kickstarter: $20,721
Number of Backers: 134
Funded on: August 2nd, 2015
Estimated opening date: Early 2016
For years, Christopher Ciesiel and his wife, Cristin Llewellyn, had been hosting private cocktail parties for friends in their backyard from a stylishly rustic lounge they created out of a shed, the two affectionately called, The Campground.
Having found just the right location, the couple decided they were ready to take The Campground public, with Ciesiel shaking up cocktails behind the bar, and Llewellyn working the front of the house. So, in late July the couple launched their own Kickstarter campaign for the build-out of their tiny bar in Westport.
The couple raised over $20,000 with their month-long Kickstarter campaign making The Campground a reality for themselves, and Kansas City, as well.
“The funds will hopefully be released to us in the next week, as Kickstarter has to verify everyone's pledges and also take their cut,” Ciesiel says.
The two had been entertaining groups of 25 people in their backyard shed, so they plan to keep their new bar space around the same size. The layout of the space will have about 10 seats at the bar itself, and the rest will be bar tops and standing room only.
They have decided to jump on the space next door to their original location, so now they will be opening at 8 Westport Road, Kansas City, MO.
“Our architect pulled permits on two different spaces, and after considering them both, we think 8 Westport Road would best suit our needs and what we are trying to do,” he says.
Hours of operation for The Campground will be Tuesday – Saturday from 3 pm to 11 pm. With a new baby at home, the couple has no plans to make this a late night joint.
“It has been totally overwhelming and humbling having Kansas City and beyond back you up. It's lighting a bigger fire under us to work harder and be better,” Ciesiel says.
Expect to see The Campground shaking and stirring it up on the Kansas City cocktail scene in the spring of 2016.
The Campground, 8 Westport Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111, www.thecampgroundkc.tumblr.com
Concept: Doughnut Lounge
Owner: Jake Randall
Kickstarter Goal: $25,000
Currently Raised on Kickstarter: $6,335
Current Number of Backers: 129
Number of days left on Campaign: 22
Closing Date of Kickstarter Campaign: October 1st, 2015
Estimated opening date: Early 2016
Kansas City is about to get its very own next-level donut shop.
Last week, local entrepreneur Jake Randall launched a Kickstarter campaign to get Doughnut Lounge off the ground in Westport.
Randall has a business background, as well as experience owning and managing coffee shops. At Doughnut Lounge, he wants to pair great coffee with creative and delicious doughnuts by day, and cocktail pairings by night – all in a cozy and comfortable environment.
Three categories of donuts will be available at the shop. Classic, old-fashioned varieties will include both yeast-risen and cake donuts. Next, more creative creations will include flavors like double chocolate nutella, s’mores, crème brûlée and maple bacon. Finally, Doughnut Lounge will combine its donuts with favorite savory foods, such as pizza, biscuits and gravy or mac 'n' cheese.
The construction and buildout of Doughnut Lounge’s 2,500-square-foot space is currently underway behind the paper covering his storefront windows. Randall, like many entrepreneurs, has faced unexpected construction costs and delays that ate away more of his budget than he anticipated. He hopes that with this Kickstarter campaign, and a little help from his friends and neighbors, he can get the doors open as quickly as possible.
The online campaign is aimed at raising the final nest egg needed to get the baristas, pastry chefs and bartenders in place to open the doors. The $25,000 Randall hopes to raise will sustain his initial payroll and cover opening operational costs.
The Kickstarter rewards for the campaign offer something for every level of donation. From the doughnut-obsessed to the business executive wanting donuts and coffee delivered to his office for free for an entire year, Randall has all his customer bases covered. There are invitations for two to the opening party, and the opportunity to get one free doughnut, per day, for life.
Doughnut Lounge will feature a coffee bar with a full-time barista, as well as a bar serving beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Randall insists, though, that Doughnut Lounge is a donut shop first.
“We are not a daytime coffee shop that serves donuts, or a late-night bar that serves cocktails to pair with our doughnuts,” he says, “we are a donut shop first and foremost.”
Randall confesses he, and his handful of investors, were reluctant to host a Kickstarter for Doughnut Lounge in the beginning, because he thought he had secured what he needed to open the place.
“We fought the idea of doing a Kickstarter in the beginning, because we didn’t want to ask our friends, family and community for any additional capital if we didn’t need it, and at the time we thought we had enough to get everything done,” he says.
“I trusted these people, and I still trust people, in spite of what happened to me on this project,” Randall tells Feast. “I have a wife and two kids who believe in me and this idea, so I simply cannot let this stop me.”
Transitioning the space, formerly home to clothing store Imagery, into a restaurant with a full commercial kitchen and hood has not been a walk in the park for Randall and his team. Doughnut Lounge is also located in a historic building with rules and regulations to manage, and everything needed overhauling and upgrading.
“If this Kickstarter doesn’t fund, and I hope it will, it will not the end of the world for me, or Doughnut Lounge,” Randall says.
The donuts will rise in Westport, he assures.
The Doughnut Lounge Kickstarter will end on Thurs., Oct. 1 at 10 pm. To learn more about how you can support the project, visit the Kickstarter here.
Doughnut Lounge, 4117 Pennsylvania, Westport, Kansas City, Missouri, 810.938.7897, www.doughnutlounge.com